The Recent Vampire Craze: An Explanation of the Creatures Showing Up on Your HD TV

December 29, 2010 by  
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The Recent Vampire Craze: An Explanation of the Creatures Showing Up on Your HD TV

The Recent Vampire Craze: An Explanation of the Creatures Showing Up on Your HD TV


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Home Page > Arts & Entertainment > Television > The Recent Vampire Craze: An Explanation of the Creatures Showing Up on Your HD TV

The Recent Vampire Craze: An Explanation of the Creatures Showing Up on Your HD TV

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Posted: Oct 23, 2009 |Comments: 0
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In the 1990s, the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a cult hit.  Based on an 1980s film with the same name, it attracted millions of viewers and ran for several years – despite its somewhat cliché subject.  Though its following was less-than mainstream (and that of its spin-off Angel even less so), it earned a place in American television and pop culture history, receiving critical acclaim for its use of vampires and demons as metaphors for the challenges of growing up.

After the era of Buffy came and went, many assumed that the theme of vampires, at least for a while, would disappear, too.  In recent months, however, these mythical creatures have come front and center.  From Twilight to True Blood to The Vampire Diaries, vampire-themed television shows and films have become all the rage.  More and more television watchers find themselves switching their high definition televisions to HBO to watch True Blood and flocking to theaters to see Twilight than ever before.  And while before, vampire-themed entertainment was somewhat taboo, today, it is more popular than ever.

What does this recent obsession with these creatures that have existed in myths and fairy tales for hundreds of years mean?  There is no clear answer.

A most obvious and perhaps correct answer is that this vampire rage is simply a fad.  With the success of the Twilight book series and subsequent films, it is easy to argue that many in the entertainment business simply jumped on the bandwagon in hopes of making a quick buck.  With the increasing popularity of satellite TV, television stations are competing harder than ever for viewers’ attention.  Knowing that the attention and interest of audiences has been piqued by the vampires of Twilight, writers and producers hope that similarly themed shows have a similar effect.  Much like the reality craze of the 1990s, the vampire craze may be nothing more than simple domino effect.

There are, however, other explanations.  Though vampires have recently reemerged with a great amount of force in media and entertainment, they have been a fixture of storytelling for hundreds of years.  Vampires appear in stories that date back hundreds of years ago.  The myths of wooden stakes, crosses, garlic and sunlight are drawn from tales told long, long ago.  Maybe, the inclusion of these blood-sucking creatures in our literature and cultures actually says something about us.

What, of course, the existence of vampires in our mythology could mean is tough to pinpoint.  One possible explanation for the current craze, however, could be linked to the reality of the world around us.  In a world that seems to be increasingly in crisis, mythological and incredible tales serve as an escape.  Vampires and demons serve as manifestations of the evils we face in real life – war, crime, poverty, etc.  We switch our HD TVs to these mythological shows in part to escape from often much darker realities.

When we tell stories about these creatures, demonizing them but also giving them depth and complexity, we also tell stories about ourselves.  Vampires will not be disappearing from satellite TV anytime soon, but that may be a good thing after all.

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